Thursday, November 10, 2016

Election Results 2016 - let's get personal #1

OK... one of the issues we hear about most regarding the Obama years is the ACA and more than once I heard people say that "Hillary will double down on Obamacare."  Trump has said that on day 1 he will repeal the ACA.  I'm not sure how that is possible but... From what I can see the closest that the GOP has come to a proposed alternative is Paul Ryans 37 pages of talking points (it lists goals but doesn't really say how we get to any of them... and as the ACA has shown, the proof really is in the implimentation) or Trump's promise of something better with no details and as far as anyone from the outside can see, no work having been done on what would be a tremendously complex issue.  Of course, the option of just repealing the ACA without replacing it with any legislative alternative is a real possibility... with all of the attendant chaos that would bring.

This one is very personal for me.  I have an hereditary condition called heterozygous familial hyperlipidemia.  What that means is that my liver doesn't fully function with regards to processing cholesterol and I end up with crazy high numbers of the bad kind (when I was first tested, my overall cholesterol was 613).  That results in severe artery disease.  Most of the men in my biological family died of heart attacks in their thirties (my father at 31).  That means that on the private market I am simply uninsurable.

When it was discovered that I have this condition, my arteries were in very bad shape to the point that surgical intervention would do no good.  I had not had a heart attack though.  The medications (expensive) work very well for me and my cholesterol has been under control for nearly 30 years.  I still have not had a heart attack and some of the arterial damage has healed itself.

Under the old system, health insurance differed dramatically from one state to another.  In New York, I got excellent insurance at a reasonable price through the local council of churches which acted as a group.  In California, I had to get it either through the denomination or as private insurance.  Private was not available to me.  Period.  The broker literally laughed when he saw the medical history portion of my application.  So we got it through the denomination which, because everyone who could get insurance cheaper had moved to another source, became a group of older individuals with more medical issues.  I got insurance... but the year prior to the ACA, it cost nearly $4000 a month for my spouse and I.  Yes.  That is the correct number of zeros.  When the ACA was implemented, that program disappeared because nobody was able for it to continue.  Even under the ACA, our insurance started at $2000 a month... but that still was a savings of over $24000 a year.

Long story short... if the ACA is repealed without a replacement that provides insurance to people like me at a reasonable cost, I will likely die.  I'm not trying to be dramatic here... only stating a reasonable understanding of what will happen.

Before the ACA, 45,000 died each year from the results of lack of insurance.  20 million people who had been uninsured got health insurance under the ACA.  That number dropped significantly.  If the ACA is repealed without a suitable replacement, we'll be looking at those numbers again... and I will likely be one of them.

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